Listen to my new cantata “Words of Beginning”

Words of Beginning received its second performance at the Yale School of Music as part of the New Music New Have Series last week. I am particularly blessed to have friends who came and performed my piece from Boston together with two wonderful soloists from the Yale Opera, Jamilyn White, soprano and Brian Vu, baritone along with the Yale New Music New Haven orchestra on November 14. They did a wonderful job performing this difficult piece with only one rehearsal with the orchestra. The choir arrived at 5 p.m. on Thursday November 14, and we had only one hour to rehearse with the orchestra on the day of the concert. This was their second performance of the piece, however, (the first being the world premier at First Lutheran church of Boston on October 27) so the choir performed confidently. Bravo everyone and thanks. 

Program November 14, 2013

1. Opening chorus

In the beginning was the Word 
and the Word was with Him and in Him and Him
What story does the sun tell of the Holy
as lumen spilled from pen to page of day
words capturing each crest of wave
each crease of current, each ripple, each fragile break
of water upon water
upon water upon water
as wind formed crescents on the surface 
the day when light was made

What of the stars that day when day was shaped
what of their questions as they were molded like clay
by hands of words and words of light
what did they think as their glow moved away
into darkness that was beginning before it began
what did they see when seeing became sight?

2. Aria (soprano)


Before he followed the star 
the shepherd followed whiteness,
woolen backs entering fields 
of long grass filled with the long sun, 
the moist dew of dawn. 
With wind from the east each blade 
bowed as though giving themselves 
to the unseen. Soon he too will bow 
in the words of light, 
for the sight of wings 
feathers of a whiteness more than white, 
a brightness more than bright. 

3. Aria (baritone) and Chorus

Not knowing what to say he prayed
as the feather lay still on the page
his thoughts a ripple in the candle light
a silent sound like the first day within night
and then the voice took his hand
took the feather, took the thought, took the man
and ink filled the grain
just as glow filled beginning as beginning began
and the words spoke back to him

4. Chorale: Now Thank We All Our God (3 verses)